Open main menu

Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Wisbech

The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul or St Peter's Church, Wisbech, is an Anglican church in the market town of Wisbech, the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. It is an active parish church in the Diocese of Ely. The church was founded in the 12th century.[1]

Church of St Peter and St Paul
Šv. Petro bažnyčia Visbičas (Wisbech).JPG
Church of St Peter and St Paul is located in Cambridgeshire
Church of St Peter and St Paul
Church of St Peter and St Paul
Location in Cambridgeshire
52°39′50″N 0°09′43″E / 52.6640°N 0.1619°E / 52.6640; 0.1619Coordinates: 52°39′50″N 0°09′43″E / 52.6640°N 0.1619°E / 52.6640; 0.1619
LocationWisbech, Cambridgeshire
StatusParish church
DedicationSaint Peter, Saint Paul
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade I
ArchdeaconryHuntingdon and Wisbech
Priest(s)Fr. Paul John Francis West
Honorary priest(s)Fr. David Addington

On 17 July 1951 the church became the first Grade I listed building in Wisbech.[2]

John Betjeman described St Peter and St Paul's church as "a typical town church with four-aisled nave, rather dark and dusty". Features of interest include the free standing bell tower, a wall monument by Joseph Nollekens and the reredos of 1885 which was designed by William Bassett-Smith and executed by Salviati.[3]

The Perpendicular tower was built detached from the rest of the church due to the instability of the soil here; so a collapse of the tower would not be disastrous for the rest of the church. An earlier tower of which the base remains had fallen onto the nave of an earlier church building. The tower is much more ornate in its higher stages and many of its patrons are commemorated in stone carvings. It is surmounted by a flèche. The interior is the work of many periods of building; the Norman nave is to the north of a second nave and each have both aisles and chancels. The Norman chancel was demolished and replaced by a larger one which is Decorated in style and has a fine east window.[4]



The Puritan chapel of ease built in 1660 at Guyhirn, following the Restoration was adopted by the Wisbech St. Peter vicar until 1854 when Wisbech St. Mary was created a separate parish. W&H Burgess published an illustration of 'Wisbech St. Peter's church from an engraving of 1800. It is included facing page 250 of History of Wisbech and Neighbourhood.

When the church graveyard was full, Tillery Field was purchased in 1828 for use as a cemetery. Many of the victims of the 1832 cholera epidemic are buried here. It is now Tillery Park owned by the C of E and maintained by Fenland District Council.


The royal arms


  • 1252 William de Norwold
  • 1338 Dr. Rogers
  • 1349 John Bolin? (John Boton is used in marriage licence of 1355 in 'A History of Wisbech Castle' ).
  • 1384 William de Newton
  • 1401 John Judde or Rudde
  • 1422 John Ockham, LL.D.
  • ???? William Abyngton
  • 1448 John Clampain
  • 1472 John Warkworth, D.D.
  • 1473 William Gybbs
  • 1494 William Doughty, LL.D.
  • 1503 John Wyatt
  • 1525 Robert Cliffe, LL.D.
  • ???? John Cheeesewright
  • 1537 William Lord
  • 1544 William Hande
  • 1549 Henry Ogle
  • 1554 Hugh Margesson, A.B


  • 1587 Matthew Champion this year was a plague year (as was 1584). His induction p251, is given as 1586 by F.J.Gardiner).
  • 1613 Joshua Blanton, B.D. (Induction 1612 p251,given by. F.J.Gardiner).
  • 1615 Thomas Emerson (induction 1615 p251, according to F.J.Gardiner).
  • 1630 Edward Furnis, A.M.
  • 1651 William Coldwell
  • 1702 John Bellamy, A.M.
  • 1714 Thomas Cole, A.M.
  • 1721 Henry Bull, D.D.
  • 1749 Henry Burrough, LL.D
  • 1773 John Warren, D.D.
  • 1779 James Burslem, LL.D
  • 1787 Hon & Rev C.Lindsay, A.M.
  • 1795 Caesar Morgan, D.D,
  • 1802 Abraham Jobson, D.D.
  • 1831 Henry Fardell, M.A. This year was a cholera year. 1849 was also a cholera year.

[5] On his decease in March, 1854,the Living of Wisbech St.Peter, which exceeded £2,000 in value at that time, was divided by the Eccliastical Commissioners into two parts, viz., Wisbech St. Mary, made into a separate parish of the value of £900, to which the Rev. Henry Jackson, M.A. (At that time Curate of Leverington) was presented, and Wisbech St. Peter, then valued at £1,200, but now considerably diminished given to the Rev. William Bonner Hopkins, B.D.

  • 1854-66 William Bonner Hopkins, B.D. 1854 was also a cholera epidemic year. 1865 saw the completion of the water supply from Marham.
  • 1866-67 John Saul Howson, D.D (co-author of 'Life and Epistles of St.Paul.see p253)
  • 1867-86 John Scott, M.A.
  • 1886 Robert Edward Reginald Watts, M.A. [6]
  • 1990 Willem Zwalf [7]

Rose FairEdit

The Rose Fair began in 1963 when local rose growers sold rose buds in the Parish Church in aid of its restoration fund. The church still uses this wonderful occasion to raise funds for the upkeep of its ancient building, but over the years, the Rose Fair has grown into a town festival. The gardens outside the church are transformed into a market place where other local churches and organisations provide stalls and activities to raise funds for their causes. On the Saturday the Wisbech round table organise a parade of floats through the town in the morning and afternoon. The flower festival theme for 2019 is "My kind of music".[8]

Further readingEdit

  • Wim Zwalf (1997). The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Wisbech. Wisbech Society & Preservation Trust Ltd. ISBN 0-9519220-4-1.
  • Wim Zwalf (2006). St Peter and St Paul. Nordic Press.


  1. ^ "The Norman Church". Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  2. ^ "PARISH CHURCH OF ST PETER AND PAUL - 1229992 | Historic England". Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  3. ^ Bedtjeman, J., ed. (1968) Collins Pocket Guide to English Parish Churches; the South. London: Collins; p. 142
  4. ^ Simon Jenkins (1999) England's Thousand Best Churches. Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9281-6; pp. 53-54
  5. ^ William Watts (1834). The History of Wisbech.
  6. ^ F. J. Gardiner (1898). History of Wisbech and Neighbourhood 1848-1898. Gardiner & Co.
  7. ^ Wim Zwalf (1997). The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Wisbech. Wisbech Society & Preservation Trust. ISBN 0-9519220-4-1.
  8. ^ "Rose Fair". Retrieved 5 January 2019.